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 V.14 No.37 | September 15 - 21, 2005 


Voter ID

Let's not mince words here. The Voter ID proposal that will be on the ballot on Oct. 4 is a straight-up political sham. This isn't to say that requiring voters to show an ID when they go to the polls is a bad thing. It isn't. But as it stands, the current proposal leaves much to be desired.

There are basically two problems with it. The first is that the proposal addresses a problem that simply doesn't exist. There's no evidence that voter fraud occurs at the polls in New Mexico in any significant way, and certainly not in a manner sufficient to actually sway an election.

Much more significant electoral concerns revolve around whether voting machines accurately tally the vote; the lack of a paper trail produced by such machines; whether voters are being given reasonable access to voting stations; whether provisional ballots are being properly counted; the comprehensibility of ballots; and whether the increasing use of absentee ballots allow election results to be corrupted.

This last concern brings us to the second problem with the current proposal. City Councilor Michael Cadigan proposed a version of the measure that would require all voters to show an ID, both those who vote at the polls and those who vote by absentee ballot. This measure was voted down by the three most conservative members of the Council—Craig Loy, Tina Cummins and Sally Mayer.

Mayer produced the measure that you'll actually see on the ballot. Her proposal doesn't affect voters who vote by absentee ballot.

Why isn't this a surprise? Well, this is where the political hackery comes in. Republicans vote more frequently by absentee ballot. Democrats vote more frequently at the polls. Mayer's proposition was specifically designed to discourage Democratic voters from voting while at the same time having no effect on Republican voters.

It's mainly this second flaw that makes the current proposition undesirable. Voter ID is a decent idea, but it needs to be implemented in an equitable manner. The current proposition simply isn't equitable. For this reason, the Alibi does not endorse this measure.


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